What's the outer limit of reality TV?
(L-R) Angela Rockwood, Tiphany Adams, Mia Schaikewitz, and Auti Angel of Sundance Channel's "Push Girls."
June 5th, 2012
03:50 PM ET

What's the outer limit of reality TV?

(CNN) - Reality TV is set to conquer the final frontier - or try.

A Dutch company says it's planning a reality show about a group of humans colonizing Mars in 2023.

The mission is backed by a co-creator of the show "Big Brother" as well as a Nobel-winning physicist.

The company is billing it as the "biggest media event ever.” They say viewers will follow the selection and training of the colonists and ultimately their settlement on Mars.

It's the next logical step, I suppose, in the phenomenon of reality TV. After all, they've already done about everything else, haven't they?

Just this week, the Sundance Channel launched "Push Girls." It follows the stories of five women in wheelchairs and shows what life is like after paralysis.

Reality TV took off in the 1990s with "The Real World" on MTV. Producers got a group of strangers to live together in a house and just let the cameras roll.

Soon a whole industry was born.

Now there are competition shows such as "Survivor," "The Apprentice" and "The Amazing Race."

And we can check out talent shows such as "American Idol," "Dancing With the Stars" and "America's Got Talent" ... and dating shows such as "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette."

There are shows about pregnant teenagers, about families with eight kids ... and with 19 kids, "Real" housewives of various locales, the Jersey Shore, weight loss shows, programs about over-the-top sweet 16 parties as well as pseudo-celebrities such as Paris Hilton and the Kardashians.

From “Survivor” to women in wheelchairs to what next?

Reality shows are cheap to produce and viewers like them. They're television's answer to a prayer.

Here’s my question to you: What's the outer limit of reality TV?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: On Jack's radar • Reality TV • Television
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. Virginia. Atlanta

    I don't watch reality shows. I find them to be boring, contrived and create celebrities whose only talent is how to outrage the public. . So I don't care if they continue or what form they take.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  2. Ed from California

    The "Outer Limit's" was a great show, Jack! With 25% high school dropout rate and lower and lower test scores. And our high tech business' can't really hire our kids because they're not smart enough. I guess the reality show is as close to reality that our nation's you't (youth) can get, even Clint Eastwood's wife has a reality show.....must be some easy coin!! Jack the real reason we have so many of these shows (it started with Survivor). Is because it's cheaper to produce and it makes more money for the shows owner. Cheaper to produce, ie. you don't pay for SAG actors, directors, writers, stage hands etc.....Where are the jobs, Boehner??

    June 5, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  3. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I guess when your country is ranked 27th in the world in education your television programming reflects this ranking. It also doesn't help young children stay in school seeing stupid people become millionaires making a fool of themselves. I expect when we hit 30th on the pole of education, we will be even amazed more what is put on TV as entertainment.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  4. Dr. Michael D. Knox, Tampa

    Follow U.S. troops and drones as they kill and wound innocent people. When will CNN have the courage to show what's really happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, and tribal areas of Pakistan. It would do a lot of good for us to see the reality TV that we all contribute to.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  5. Mark, Oklahoma City, OK

    Jack, most days I find that just listening to you read your viewer's comments are about the most FAR OUT thing I can stand when it comes to reality t.v.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  6. Bob in Ohio

    Over 50 years ago Newton Minow labeled TV a "Vast Wasteland", he was and still is correct.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  7. jk in MN

    Who knows – I most Reality TV shows not worth my precious limited free time watching. It's just like the job outsourcing the major corporations have been doing, Jack. Instead of providing higher quality shows with writers, directors and professional actors, the networks are producing cheap Reality TV show crap to broadcast and apparently enough gullible people to watch it.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  8. Doug Ericson

    I havn't watched the Reality shows starting from the get go. I never even watched one minute of the original survivor series. To get the biggest audience on TV you have to shoot for the most common denominator, the average viewer. It has to follow then that the most popular shows are the simplest ones. Even the news stations, main news web sites, are going tabloid in a major way. No matter what site I click on to, I am forced to cringe at, at least one grusome or gross headline or photo that is prominently featured on the front page. Just between you and me, Mr. Cafferty, I'd prefer not to know that the bear ate the body hacker guy. Or look at some gross medical diagram. Or hear about the man eating cannibal twins. If they want to show some tatooed freak on tv with more bolts in his head than Frankenstine its fine with me, but I'm not watching it. Speaking of freak shows, the Queens Jubilee was a good one. About ten seconds was all I could take of that bizzar celebration. Thank God Tiger Woods has found his swing again. Watching Tiger win last Sunday, after taking a full swing at a ball 30 feet from the pin, and have it trickle into the cup is all the reality tv I need. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  9. Karl in Flint, MI

    I'm not sure whose reality they are trying to portray, but they passed the outer limits of my reality years ago. Cops pulling over drunks, booking them into jailor or solving a murder in 48 hours is my limit. I fail to see any entertainment value in pawn shops idiots on both sides of the counter, morons repossessing cars from other morons, bazaar rehabs of all kinds and voting stupid people off fictitious islands. The old "do not try to adjust your" TV program "Outer Limits" was far more realistic then the obnoxious reality TV of today.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  10. Dave, Orlando, Fl

    Reality TV? I’ve been looking for reality on TV for the last 40 years and haven’t found the inner limit yet.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  11. Mark in Topeka

    It seems like some people will do almost anything, however humiliating, to get on TV.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  12. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    The outer limits is when reality TV merely becomes nothing more than a Tabloid....no educational value, entertainment value, moral value or informational value.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  13. Jenna Roseville CA

    What's the outer limit of reality TV?

    Why not have a reality show about women in wheel chairs? They have Jersey Shore.

    I for one do NOT watch reality tv. I have much better things to do with my time.

    Roseville CA

    June 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  14. Brad, Portland, OR

    The limits are defined by what people are willing to participate in, and what other people are willing to watch.

    As you well know, Jack, it's all about ratings.

    If you don't have a product that people want to watch, your ratings slide and you get canceled.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  15. NurseLisa in CT

    First I was delivered from the fakeness of wrestling, then I used to think shows like Maury and Springer were the worst of reality TV, then found out how scripted they were; COPS was a train wreck; then I thought we couldn't be dumber than those on Jersey Shore and to my shock and dismay the dopes continue to make enormous salaries and get spin-offs, Badly behaved housewives are all over the country apparently, and the history of drug addled former-stars in rehab or our fascination with vacuous celebrities like Anna Nicole often only serve as precursors to further tragedy. Hate the Donald and his "your fired" weekly tribute to his ego. Jack – I guess the outer limit is always the next repulsive show from which the dumbed down public can not turn away.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  16. Gary in San Jose, California

    Apparently there is no outer limit. Just when you think reality TV has hit rock bottom something lower arrives.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  17. Bob in Ohio

    Watching more and more reality TV over and over must be what it's like to have Alzheimer"s Disease.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  18. Annie, Atlanta

    Your write-up isn't here yet as I read this, but the answer is as plain as the noses on our faces. Realty TV is a way to make quick money using mean and ugly instead of creativity to keep people coming back. Sad to have seen this trend coming, but not surprising. It's all about money at any cost, including tossing common decency and humanity in the trash.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  19. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    The difference between reality and fantacy is pain and it pains me a great deal to see our society becoming more interested in gabage than true entertainment but our very moral fiber is gone at many levels and TV strikes at the core of just how violent and corrupt we have evolved.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  20. Thinkforyourself, OK

    The outer limit should be to keep it interesting and clean.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  21. Bill of New Mexico

    I do not know much about reality TV.

    I watched "survivor" with my wife the first season and couldn't stand it.

    I know she watches the "great race."

    There's not much reality about reality programs–unless it is the "cut-throat" behavior.

    All I know is that they turn my emotions on too much–so I do not watch them at all–period. Ever!

    June 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  22. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack it amazes me what people will watch to pass the time. What ever happened to quality programing? If it isn't programs where people try and rule a fake island but never get sunburnt or obese Dance Mom's trying to make sure that their little bundle of joy who they live vicariously through, cuts the other little girls throat in order to win a fake dance competition. What are we learning by all this and what are we teaching our kids? Do onto others before they do on to you!!

    June 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  23. Loren, Chicago

    The only limit is how far people are willing to humiliate themselves in front of millions. They operate, of course, on the mistaken notion that fame will give them beauty and riches or allow them to bring their cause to the forefront, but the reality of reality tv is that it merely brings riches to those who own the shows and the causes are as quickly out of the minds of the viewers as the last commercial goes dark. Reality TV is just another of the dark aspects of capitalism.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  24. Gary H. Boyd

    Just what is reality TV Jack?

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    June 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  25. David Radcliff

    I respect the question—as I'm not a huge fan of reality TV, in general—but it's intriguing that it's only being asked now, when television is finally and gracefully bringing wheelchair users to the forefront of a program for the first time. So much media advancement has been won in wonderful ways by LGBT, black, and Latino representations, and "Push Girls" is a big step in the right direction for people with disabilities—the largest minority group on the planet and the only minority group that anyone can join at any time. This is a rare reality program that may actually be NEEDED, and could be a boon to employment, medical, and social topics. I hope that this, like "The Cosby Show" before it, is launchpad for inclusive television, not an outer limit. If only we weren't 30 years behind.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  26. Paul in NC

    The outer limit was reached about 7 seconds after the first reality show came on the air. If this is reality, I don't want any part of it.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  27. David of Alexandria, VA

    The limit will be when we stop watching them and feeding their advertisers. That is, sometime after we run out of snacks and soda and before our obese behinds fuse themselves to our couches and our thumbs fuse to our remote controls. Unfortunately, by then, we'll be in some sort of vegitative state and probably won't notice.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  28. Brian Samuels (Chicago)

    The Astronaut wives of Outer Space.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

    If the show airs on cable TV, NONE

    June 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  30. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    If it takes reality TV to sell a Mars mission, I'm all for it, provided it is a big enough colony so that everyone does not die off. That would be too depresssing.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  31. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: There are no outer limits of reality TV--whatever makes money for the network.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  32. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York


    We've been suffering through the outer limits of reality TV since 1979, with the 1st broadcast of CSPAN. Has there been anything since that matches the futility,ineptitude, and incompetance of those 535 clowns running our country ?

    June 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  33. John from Alabama

    Jack: Realty TV only works when it is based on true facts, and not Jules Verne's Science Friction. The most successful realty show is CBS's "Amazing Race", because it based on believable facts. It has 6 to 8 Emmys tp prove it is realty TV at its finest. Human emotions are real, and traveling is hectic, but having people jump through hoops to win makes it excellent realty TV.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  34. Sandstone

    "Reality TV??? What is that?? Everything on the media is just another movie, that changes imediatly after comments are delivered. Just like this! You could rewrite you blog, and would anybody care enough to check?? I will never have Oldtimers deceise, because I won't let it happen (not even if my spelling fails) I don't watch TV!!! Well not LIVE!"

    June 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  35. Willy in Las Vegas

    a reality show about a group of humans colonizing Mars in the year 2023? we already had that, Jack. it was called "Star Trek"

    June 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  36. Karl in Flint, MI

    The outer limits of reality shows was passed years ago. I'm still baffled at what or whose reality are they trying to portray in this insanity. Will the first episode of this Mars colony series be Newt Gingrich landing on the moon and setting up his moon colony as a jump off point for the Mars colony? Then the real reality of that will be Mitt Romney and Bain taking the entire project over and making billions off of its demise. Now that is reality.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  37. Mike in Minneapolis

    Reality. They wouldn't touch a show that was completely unscripted.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  38. Peter, Tarrytown, N.Y

    The next reality show should be a nudist colony on a dry piece of land surrounded by a swamp, infested with poison ivy, mosquitoes, black widow spiders and no 1st aid kits.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  39. June in Wyoming

    My limit is pretty low -- I've never watched a single reality show.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  40. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    I don't know the outer limits of reality Jack, but I have a hunch it fills ones brain with too much clutter. There seems to be little room left in our sculls to think about meaningful subjects that affect our lives. Most of us cant tell you who their Representatives are in government, or the capital of some other state or even their own. That's scary reality.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  41. itsmeagain

    Anything that introduced us to the Kardashians and made them celebrities --
    well, it probably doesn't have any limits or taste.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  42. Mr. D

    Someone should start a reality show featuring Congress in wheelchairs supplied, by Medicare, living on a distant planet. There they could talk about the good old days on planet earth and how they screwed it up. They could tax aliens to the point where they too want to leave their planet.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  43. Gigi Oregon

    At our house we are back watching the old old TV shows and movies, laughing with our kids and grand kids about the grand old days.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  44. rex in portland, or.

    The outer limit is profitability. When it is possible to obtain a profit from the masses who watch this crap, this crap will be presented. If the profits go, so goes the show. The American Way, Jack.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  45. ken from connecticut

    The only limit is a show that the producers don't think will produce good ratings. I'm not a reality show watcher, but a group of humans colonizing Mars in 2023, I just may watch that one. Thanks Jack for the info!

    June 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  46. Angela, Oregon

    Instant coffee, instant potaoes. That's what so-called reality TV is. Much ado about nothing, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Shakespeare had it right. Dress them up, put them on a stage and make them tell us a story. Make them take us out of ourselves for a few moments or a few hours. Not hold a mirror up to us.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  47. Pete in Georgia

    What we now have is man's ego running wild. Anything goes that produces TV viewers in a nation who lives for basically one thing............................to be entertained.
    It couldn't be more lame than this.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  48. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    There is no limit, humans are facinated with themselves and all are closeted voyuers.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  49. wendy

    this election

    June 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  50. Mark in Houston

    Do not attempt to adjust your TV Jack.....Reality TV is going to control it all. Over time, there will be no limit to content. . I can even imagine one with Wolf having to wear tropical shirts on the air for a week.
    Where is Jethro Bodine when we need him.


    June 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  51. clubschadenfreude

    I wouldnt' be suprised to see real death matches in 20 years. Right out of sciene fiction. We already have people loving to watch people in internet videos get very likely seriously hurt and maybe killed.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  52. Bob in Kansas City

    I don't watch them, paint drying has the same entertainment value so they are a waste of time as far as I'm concerned.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  53. Trevor, Ontario, Canada


    Battle Royal, Running Man, The Condemned...dare I say let the games begin.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  54. Ronald from SC

    Watching the GOP/Tea Party try to flush this country down the drain!

    June 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  55. Richard Hill/Colebrook,NH

    Politically, Jack its got to be "Mr. Magic Pants, Etch- a -Sketch, Flip Flopping Mitt Romney"!

    June 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  56. Chris

    Follow U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines as they put their lives on the line to defend the right of ignorant citizens like Dr. Michael D. Knox, of Tampa (and try to bring those rights to others). Maybe then he'll understand why the epitaphs on service member's tombstones read "Died on the field of honor, that others may live free".

    June 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  57. deborah ballweg Seibert, co

    Until the public refuses to watch them, there is not limit. I, for one, think the networks are dead and the only entertainment is on cable. That is, if they can keep the characters out of a sex scene and that is increasingly difficult.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  58. Drinky Crow

    People still watch TV? Gave it up years ago, and stories like this make me remember why.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  59. calaurore9

    Abusive dance moms in wheelchairs eating bugs on Ork.

    C. in Ma

    June 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  60. I'm a Rose

    I don't care for reality shows. We watched Sarah Palins show and it was the most boring thing I had ever seen. The Kardashians are the most fake and Trump is the most rude, hateful wretch of a person out there. Give me any of the comedy shows from the 60's and 70's and I will be in the height of my glory.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  61. Laurie A

    I think most TV has already reached the outer limits Jack. 99% of what's on TV is little more than garbage, and reflects well the dumbing down of the citizenry of this once great country.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  62. Arthur Googy

    The reason reality programming has exploded is that we now have more media outlets than we can support via traditional means. This means that the cost or programming has to drop, and reality shows are incredibly cheap. If you have 200 channels you need to fill them with something. I'm not a huge reality fan, but I would rather watch a new episode of Storage Wars or Tanked than a re-run of a good drama that I have already seen. We won't hit the outer reaches of reality until they loosen up on what is censored. With most basic channels still sticking to what you are allowed over the air, we still have limits. Loosen it up a little and we will get into sex and death and whatnot.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  63. Overby

    If you believe a reality show is real, you must think those are real families and life situations on soap operas. The reality show's 'real' people are Screen Actor's Guild members whose union requirements take very good care of their actor/members while on location and shooting a show...they are not out in a jungle living in a tent or starving or in danger, they are provided quality accomodations, food, and doctor care. Get a life.....

    June 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  64. Renee, Illinois

    Who cares? I've never watched one of these so-called shows. As far as I'm concerned it's further evidence of the dumbing down of America. REAL reality tv is the news, you know, CNN?

    June 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  65. Liz.

    All those shows are contrived, the real reality tv can be found on CNN.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  66. Greg Rockford, IL

    I refuse to watch a reality TV show about the filming of a reality TV show, the buck stops there.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  67. podunda

    In the future, everyone's life will be filmed all the time. Then, you will simply set up your TV with channels for the people that you want to watch.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  68. Jim Charlotte NC

    With society as sick as it is there are no boundries. Show and they will come.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  69. Thom Richer

    Jack, is there anything beyond absurdity? TV gives us exactly what we deserve. It is time to grant the cable and satellite subscribers the "RIGHT of CHOICE" as to what stations they CHOOSE to pay for entering their homes and not dictated to by the cable, satellite companies and networks to "pick a package." If American viewers had the choice of what to watch, and by that, I mean what channels they PAY for and actually want coming into their homes, programming would become more beneficial, intelligent and entertaining. We are told what we like without having a say in it. Ratings are controlled, skewed and limited. Eight of ten shows on TV are reality crap, sports or adolescent sitcoms with the same story line. What else can you rate? Time to get what you "want" when you pay for it. Out of 35 channels on our local cable, three or four at the most are watched.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    June 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  70. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    For the majority of those educated in the U.S.of A. it's the "dream" come true !

    June 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  71. curtis in philadelphia

    Jack, if reality TV is an answer to the television industries prayer, then we as a society don't have one, a prayer that is.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  72. steve

    The thing that must be recognized is that so-called "reality shows" are not "reality shows." There is nothing "reality" about them. They could legitimately be called "unscripted shows" or in cases like Survivor or The Apprentice they could be called game shows. They're so fabricated and contrived that there's no way they have anything to do with reality.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  73. lowest common demoninator - cheyenne, wy

    ever see the movie Idiocracy? way ahead of its time, these shows are indicative of the woeful state of our educational and social institutions

    June 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  74. Arthur from The Poconos

    The greatest REALITY SHOW i can think of is having cameras follow around anointed people of God as they pray for people-great footage of demons being cast out, blind people receiving sight, deaf people hearing,people in bondage freed, miracles, signs and wonders. This happens everyday all over the world. Regular TV doesn't seem to want to touch it. Even though it's 100% real and authentic.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  75. WR Jones

    Watching a Mars colony would be interesting, watching three women worry if their catheter is leaking or wake-up to a flat tire on the wheelchair is hardly something I'd watch, yet this is the garbage that's offered as entertainment.

    We expect that reality TV is not scripted, but the sad fact is that most are predetermined outcomes, begging the question, how can reality TV be real if it's scripted?
    I'm a bit confused though, with the best reality show ever running everyday on CNN, why would you need a phony, scripted imitation of life? The real world is not exciting enough for you?

    June 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  76. Donaldo in ATL

    Reality TV. What an oxymoron. There is nothing real about this crap, I do not watch cause I am too damn busy trying to run a business and keep our collective heads above water. If you want to see a real reality show, lets go down to our local, friendly bank to get a business loan or to refi.......I gurantee the fireworks will go off and most people will completely understand their REALITY.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  77. WR Jones

    One correction for Jack... reality TV started with Fox's "COPS" way back in 1989.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  78. marybeth, massachusetts

    I've caught bits and pieces of them, but have found them to be so mindlessly stupid that I've changed the channel. And please don't confuse documentaries with reality tv. There was an interesting show on PBS (you know, the station that Romney thinks should be privatized, so it can be just as idiotic as all of the other channels) last week about a young, wounded Marine and the challenges he faced once he got home.

    As for the other reality tv shows like Jersey Shore, Celebrity Apprentice, Bachelor/ette, and any other show that features people behaving worse than toddlers or like the mean girls and boy bullies in school, I don't watch them and if I come across them while channel-surfing, I quickly change the channel. Why glorify stupidity and bad behavior?

    Nor do I like the focus on celebrities–who cares what they're doing and why they're doing it? I'd really prefer the kinds of shows that entertain or get me to think without insulting my intelligence.

    It is obvious that we are merely taking our cues from the ancient Romans–they had their circuses and gladiatorial fights and other "amusements" in the Coloseum; 21st century US has reality tv.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  79. Ryan from Cincinnati

    Reality shows are for E-List "actors" to hone their "skills".

    June 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  80. Dan

    The outer limit of reality TV will be contests where people actually die. Hunger Games, Series 7: The Contenders, The Running Man, plenty of movies have been made about a government that forces people into the roles of gladiators for a viewing public's amusement. But who needs the government when you have a bored public hungry for pain and suffering and persistently high unemployment? We pay boxers tens of millions of dollars to fight in a ring in front of a crowd, I bet for a couple hundred thousand I could find a willing pool of people willing to kill and die. "The ultimate game show would be one where the losing contestant was killed." Chuck Barris, creator of The Gong Show

    June 5, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  81. Laura

    Outer litmits, who knows what they are. I don't like those shows but I am glad that we have the freedom to air that silly stuff. Don't like facebook or twitter either but they serve a purpose.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  82. Steven C

    I agree that your show is so far "out there" that I switch channels or turn the TV OFF when you air. 😉

    It's all about GREED $$$. The broadcast networks seem to be run by executives with even less ethics than we see in the "Reality Shows" so we really can't expect any quality programming in any case.

    "Reality Shows are intellectual shows for morally corrupt 3 year olds." These shows are for people who don't have a life and who have no ethics or morals. At best, these shows are mind numbing and boring. At worst these shows teach how to be absolutely unethical and plot, deceive, lie, cheat, steal, obfuscate etc. - AND GREEDY. These the very worst of human behavior.

    I am afraid that in the near future, GREED ($$$) will dictate that everything will be a "REALITY SHOW". I refuse to watch such trash. In fact, beyond the BORING "laugh tracks" and BORING "reality shows", there isn't much worthwhile on the broadcast networks. If a show gets excellent ratings, it isn't enough (Terra Nova, for example) - It cost more than the show replacing it that will probably fail.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  83. Keith from Ohio

    It seems like people enjoy watching others suffer in these programs. The more mean and insensitive the "players" become, the more viewers are engaged. I used to think the outer limit would be when someone died on one these shows...but now I'm not so sure.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  84. abbydelabbey

    The question should be what's the gag limit of reality television. Virtually nothing on so-called "reality" television is worthy of our time.... You're bored and want reality? Go volunteer at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen - that's reality.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  85. liz

    What's the outer limit of reality TV?

    I woudn't know because I no longer watch co-called reality TV.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  86. Carl in San Diego

    I look as it as the dumbing down of America.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  87. Pete in Florida

    We've already reached the outer limit – it's the ignorant, arrogant, incompetent, dishonest clowns in Washington DC enriching themselves while pretending to be servants of the people. Wake up, America, this is one reality show that YOU are losing.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  88. Phillip

    Survivor in the state penitentiary

    June 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  89. M Hermans

    Jack, FYI: for your information, the first reality show was Big Brother in the Netherlands (I am Dutch and not necessarily proud of the first), by the same company that is now considering the Mars reality show.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  90. Mission Accomplished

    I hope reality TV goes away. Americans are becoming vain to a point already.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  91. dashell hammitt NC

    of course the outer limit or reality TV would be two nude zombies eating other other's faces off!!!

    June 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  92. Matt


    Remember "The Running Man?"
    How about "Death Race 2000?" ( the remake ).

    The frontier will be programs where people actually die for the entertainment of the viewing public.

    Saint Augustine, Fl

    June 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  93. Greg


    We can't know what the limits of reality tv are becasue we haven't come close to reaching them? Ask us again in 10 or 20 years and let the trend be your friend.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  94. Bear, Sylmar CA

    The only limit on reality tv will be when each and every one of us has their own show, the ultimate outcome of the look at me mindset...

    June 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  95. Patricia, Seattle WA

    We have zoomed past the Outer Limits and have entered into the Twlight Zone. I am sick of the "reality" shows. If my reality is as screwed up as many of the people on those shows.....I'd run away to Star Trek... Now there's a reality show!

    June 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  96. Steve D


    Reality TV is just another reflection of years upon years of allowing our elected officials to spend more money than they have. Be it the teachers in Wisconsin or the stars of Bonanza across the board cuts in production costs are a fact of life.

    Steve D

    New Windsor, Maryland

    June 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  97. Andrew from Edison, NJ

    When Dick Cheney gets his own reality show...

    June 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  98. Chris, Killeen, Tx

    It just shows that we are lacking creativity and rely on the ideas of others. Now the only good movies out are recreations of our childhood heros. The same goes for TV, no ingenuity for new shows only recreates and 'Reality TV" ...sad

    June 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  99. Peggy

    This one is easy Jack, the outer limit of the reality TV is ....the OFF button on my television remote!!!

    June 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  100. Conor in Chicago

    The popularity of "Reality TV" is the perfect metephor for how pathetic we are as a species in the end. When you introduce a camera, set parameters for behaivor, and edit the footage to create an overall arch for a story you are aiming for, you are, by definition, removing the "Reality" from the reality. Furthermore, the fact that people sit around and watch this garbage is even more depressing. We truly are a sad species...

    June 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  101. Terry

    I'm a 48 year old quadreplegic living in an extendicare, old folks home. Soon they'll be following people like me around as we get together in the smoke room, have a drink, argue with each other and what a catheter change entails and what bowel care is. I think that's as low as it can go and I'm waiting for them to come as there is a mixed age group in this facility from 18 years old all the way up to 100. See us fight verbally and slam into each other in our chairs when we have disagreements. The Amazing Race and Survivor have nothing on us.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  102. Ndugu

    The outer limits would be human sacrifice. This may sound snarky and jaded,but it's going to happen. The jails are already overcrowded and we're piling more people into them everyday. Some genius is going to suggest that convicted murderers should have a choice of public or private execution. If you don't believe the American public will go for it in a big way, then you weren't watching the Republican primary debates. The crowd cheered for Rick Perry when he bragged about having the highest execution rate in the nation. They also cheered for the death of the uninsured. And no, they were not in Texas at the time. Another crowd booed a gay soldier. Seriously, a soldier. They booed a guy putting his life on the line for us not because he's a coward or because he's killing innocent civilians. They booed him because he's gay.
    And just in case you forgot, a certain NC minister wants to round up all gay and lesbian Americans and put them in a modern day concentration camp and watch them die out. Yeah, the outer limits would be watching a gay soldier starve to death in a concentration camp.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  103. Dale

    "What's The Outer Limit of Reality TV?"

    I say it's a news program that asks the viewing public to make live, real, comments on the subject of "What's The Outer Limit of Reality TV?"

    June 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  104. maria M from Edina

    How about a reality show about Congress? Now there's the outer limits....

    June 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  105. Flyingwolf from Manchester, NH

    The outer limits will be when they bring back that old frontier family favorite from the 1800's that brought people from miles away to camp out with their picnic lunches like they were in line for the tickets for the latest Harry Potter movie–Live from Death Row

    June 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  106. Mike in TX

    We have all we need Jack. You and the world's proctologists get up each day knowing you'll be paid to have the same view of the world. The huge difference is that you come on TV, make it all fun and entertaining for all of us. Keep up the good work please.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  107. Barry, Ontario

    We've already seen it Jack, but in the movies. The Running Man starring Ah-nold and the late Richard Dawson. In, 2019, vigilante killers hunt alleged criminals down with flame-throwers, electrical blasts, and everything else that could be used to slice and dice. And let's not forget one of the ads in the film, Climbing for Dollars, with desperate poor people shimmying up ropes and rabid dogs below. Made 24 years ago and awfully predictive, with the usual phony rationalization for reality shows, "It's television, We're just giving the people what they want."

    June 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  108. Shar in Tustin, CA

    The joke here is that reality television is hardly ever real. But that aside, I believe Ray Bradbury got it right when he wrote "The Running Man." So-called "reality" television is headed the way of the death match, just wait.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  109. Lori

    Snuff films, natch. Given our bloodlust, we're only a few steps away from airing executions, producing shows about slaughterhouses, and yes, holding televised "Hunger Games" contests, where the winner gets everything from affordable housing to life-saving surgery.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  110. CeeGee

    Oh no Jack, you got it wrong, this mars show is nothing more than the REAL LIFE in space. Whats going to happen is, HBO is going to do a reality show of an execution. They will follow this person from the week before all the way up to the moment the switch is thrown, at that point, it will go in to a 10 sec delay blackout to remind people that this is not some joke going on and the events are real. We then will be joined at the throwing of the switch and the ratings will be off the charts! Its sad but, I see that as the next step...

    June 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  111. Neil

    The outer limit of reality TV is the outer limit of my property where i set my garbage to be taken out every Monday morning, the name "reality tv" couldnt be farther from the truth than the shows themselves, they are set to tug on the emotions of the viewer, and they do just that, I have to go Mob Wives is on.....

    June 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  112. Brian Graves, Harriman TN

    Jack, The first real reality series began when C-SPAN turned its cameras on the lives of the members of the Congress. That should have been enough reality to scare the hell out of anyone from doing any more of these shows.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  113. Mike in Scottsdale

    Roadkill for dinner. Why not the way the economy is going

    June 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  114. Brice

    Reality tv is the new tv. Fictional shows are not as appealing, as well produced reality shows about the same issues. From Schenectady

    June 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  115. gene3067

    Outer limits of reality TV?

    I thought we called it the Election.

    Port Charlotte, FL

    June 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  116. Gregg from Virginia

    How about 11 politicians picked at random to live in a house and actually get something accomplished?? A real true to life reality series about the true gridlock in Washington, D.C. Oh the drama! Think our representatives in Congress would like for us to see the real deal? Maybe they could choose politicians who are at the end of their term limit....oh wait....we don't have that yet.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  117. Jerry Mund, Appleton, WI

    Let's see a man hung. Thence drawn,quartered and disembowled. Impale his severed head to a pike and attach it to Tower bridge. Leave it there until the tower ravens have picked his skull clean

    June 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  118. Ebrahim Fazeli

    Reality TV reached its outer limit the moment camera crews started following people pretending to be surreal. There is nothing real in reality TV. The only way to truly make a reality TV show would be something along the lines of the movie The Truman Show (Jim Carrey) and we can all assume that will never happen, right? Maybe that will be the outer limit someday.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  119. Alan Sharples Jonesboro, Georgia

    I 'm tired of the seemingly endless parade of reality TV shows. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that someone is developing a show called "Stand Your Ground", inspired by the Trayvon Martin tragedy. Don't laugh, it could happen.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  120. Chris

    Of course there is no limit...we're doomed! A certain channel I used to love for it's history content is now plagued with marathons of American Pickers and Pawn Stars.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  121. Glenn in Hudson Ohio

    Mars? Really? We already have a reality show coming from a different universe. It's called C-Span. Watching congress live makes one wonder just what part of the univverse they're from.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  122. Dr. Jimmy Ho

    Why not, just put a couple camera in the casket of a deceased person and let the whole world see how a death body deteriorating in real time... and calls it "The Casket". This is fit in very well with us because of the confusion between dead & alive, real & fiction, above & under..etc. or, forgive me Jack, but I would love to name the show as " Jack- in -the-box"

    June 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  123. Mark

    Pay-per-view executions. The last 24 hours or their life, what they ate, what they said or confessed to and waiting for that phone to ring with a last minute reprieve from the Governor...we can bet whether or not it rings.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  124. Harry "O"

    Jack, one of the worst things that has happened to tv is "REALITY", BUT WHOSE REALITY? I do not watch any of them because they have absolutely no connection to anything in my life. I cannot afford those ritzy eating establishments or live in some of those neat and well to do homes, I am just a disabled, retired, Vietnam, Honduran war veteran that is trying to hang in there, fearing Romney might take away MY livlihood, and I am Republican.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  125. Hank , Warner Robins, Georgia

    Death or serious injury, because until that happens, it is not reality at all, but just more game shows.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  126. John Moore in Petaluma, CA

    Hi Jack, surely the outer limit is when the TV poducers just fade to black on these shows. Eventually (I hope) the public will realize that these shows are no more real than Alice in Wonderland. When this is what people watch it is no wonder we elect the people we do for important government offices. We need te masses to pay attention to what our country needs and forget the trash TV.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  127. Bob Mears

    When texting couch potatoes switch the remote to Faux Snooze, we will be at the limit. Bob in AZ.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  128. Bob, in Florida


    I do NOT know the outer limits of Reality TV.......because MY limit is I DO NOT WATCH ANY Reality TV. None, Nada, ziltch. If I, as a ratioanl human being, want to watch "Reality" I go outside, I watch birds, squirrels, fish jumping, cranes, Ibis', Hawks, Storks and Osprey. NOW THATS REALITY!

    June 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  129. Nick Harman - Sun Valley Idaho

    I am hoping to push the limit very soon with My B.I.G Fat Divorce Party reality show based on my company B.I.G Divorce Parties. I went through a horrible divorce last year, my friends threw me a big party once the divorce papers were signed. One thing led to another and the B.I.G idea was born

    June 5, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  130. Bob, in Florida

    It is a shame the viewing public is convinced by TV (media) who tries to manipulate the consciousness of the public. The TRUE definition of "Reality TV" are shows like NATURE and NOVA on that public broadcasting service TV Now THAT'S "Reality TV".

    June 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  131. Neil

    Hi Jack. I'm still waiting for "Knobs" transgendered amputees who changed their minds and returned to their original sex (in order to get more attention...which was the original intent) They find themselves living next to gay supermodels going through withdrawls from various addictions and the fur gets flying! Then as zany twist they are joined by Krykor; an alien from Zontar who crash lands into the grow op in the attic and stumbles down the stairs whacked on hight test weed to join the freak show. Each episode could include another the transgendered persons rethinking their choices as they peak out the windows at the scantilly clad super models at the pool...while the whole time Krykor beams his observations back to Zontar. The end is near Jack...very near. I wonder if we'll even make it to December 21 2012...part of me thinks it's time now....! I think next time I see a Gay pride parade going though town with men in assless chaps flicking their tongues at their children standing in the crowd...I'll just go home and quickly end it. What we're seeing now is the culmination of decades of "do whatever you want...everyone is beautiful and freedom of expression beats common sense and any semblance to a society with a chance of going on". Or I know....How about the Kardasians are dropped onto a small Island with hundreds of transgendered 'persons' and have to live with no attention at all except for offering make-up tips...while pregnant ten year olds try to seek advice on child rearing and seek advice for dealing with the fact that their father is 'the father'. Damn this world is a Gong show. Doesn't Gay apply to men and women? If women prefer women...why does one of them always act like the man? Same for 'Gay' men...one is always very feminate...doesn't that seem weird to anyone else? I'm not a religeous man but it's time for the great floods, the great famines...anything.....it's just time.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  132. budfox1050

    ...executions...perhaps a good beheading will shock us out of our insatiable appetite for viewing human degradation and wake us up from our self-induced beer besotted comas.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  133. Valerie Storer

    I don't watch reality shows, I don't enjoy them. However in your short blip you mentioned the show on women who use wheelchairs at least twice, suggesting that this topic is a little more ridiculous than "Survivor." Couldn't it just be educational? I think we still have a long way to go to reach inclusion. If I have misunderstood your intent in using this example, I would be happy to hear that. Appreciative, really.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  134. Sandra from Texas

    Sadly, it appears that there are no limits. I am hoping that it's a really bad fad that will soon disappear. You know, like leisure suits.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  135. Paul Boomer

    Televise capital executions. Maybe on the Texas channel. I believe Karl Menninger suggested that once awhile ago.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  136. Neil

    One more idea (thought about this one often)...the No Drug Test Olympics. Yup...lets see what people can do without the purists and their tests. Imagine some idiot lifting a house! Or some 'person' running the 2 minute mile! Weight lifters lifting 800 pounds..wow! I guarantee that the 'dirty olympics' would run away with the ratings. We're at that point now. Shock TV.....regardless of anything.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:52 pm |